Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Sleep 101: Understanding Sleep Cycle

Nearly everyone is struggling to meet the demands of modern life. For some, cutting back on sleep seems like the only solution. They need to manage a hectic schedule at the expense of sufficient rest and recreation. Having eight hours of sleep really sounds great, but how many people can really afford to spend so much time sleeping? Many adults today spend more time working and only get a few hours of slumber. They tend to forget the importance of sleep.

Sleep has different cycles and stages. Each can restore and refresh your body and mind. Minimal sleep loss may affect your energy, mood, efficiency, and ability to manage stress. If you want to stay healthy, or you want to be in your best form, you shouldn't consider sleep as luxury.

Sleep belongs to physical and physiological needs. People should know more about its importance. It is also advisable to know what people can do to recover from chronic sleep loss and how to get a healthy sleep cycle.

Importance of sleep

Sleep is the state of unconsciousness from which a person is aroused. During this stage, the brain is relatively more responsive to internal stimuli than external ones. Sleep is very important for the normal and healthy functioning of your body.

Everyone knows sleep is important for their health and wellness. Still, many people fail to get enough sleep. According to a National Sleep Foundation (NSF) survey, over 40 million Americans suffer from 70 different sleep disorders, and 60 percent of adults report having sleep troubles a few nights a week and more.

Most people with sleep issues do not really seek medical attention. The report also shows that around 35-40 percent of adults experience daytime sleepiness at least several weeks a month, severe enough to interrupt their daily routines. 20 percent of them report sleeping problems a few days a week or more. The findings also show that 70 percent of children experience one or more sleep disorder a few night or more during a week. These sleep problems are affecting the normal sleep cycle.
Understanding the human sleep cycle

The human body regulates through different processes in the cerebrum. The response depends on how long you've been active, and the changes between daytime and nighttime. At night, the body responds to the loss of daylight. This is because it produces melatonin, a hormone that makes people sleepy. During daytime, sunlight may trigger your brain to reduce production of melatonin. This causes the human body to feel more awake and active.

There are factors affecting the sleep cycle. These include traveling across time zones, working night shifts, irregular sleeping patterns, and rare disorders like the Pickwickian Syndrome.

What is Pickwikian syndrome?

Pickwikian Syndrome or PS is a condition, which occurs mostly to severely overweight people. People who suffer from this syndrome experience breathing difficulty during sleep. This can reduce blood oxygen levels and raise carbon dioxide levels. Signs and symptoms may include obstructive sleep apnea. It is a condition characterized by snoring. This condition may also result to excessive daytime sleepiness.

Georgina Taylor is a fitness instructor knowledgeable on the normal sleep cycle and Pickwickian syndrome.

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